Another day another stableford, this time around the prize was the Ward Trophy. Although happily out shined in recent years by his sons Howard Pay enjoyed the day and the format, despite a double triple run at 16 & 17, he posted a strong early 39 points. Defending champion Jeff Hughes couldn’t replicate last Years form but finished a respectable 32nd on the day.
The day was owned by Jaime Hodgkinson though. Despite a topsy turvey scoring Year Hodgkinson still nose how to get the job done. Faldo esc in scoring Hodgkinson recorded two birdies at 2 and 7 to turn in a conking 2 under gross. Hodgkinson had got his nose in front early making his remarkable back nine par at every hole seem like a walk in the park. Hodgkinson signed for a best of the day 41 points, a .5 handicap reduction and the Ward Trophy.
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What a difference a week makes, after the baking of presidents day the jubilee felt some what autumnal with bounce. Great conditions for scoring and a Stableford format geared to go get it golf.
A dull morning was enlightened thanks to a 39 point return from Jim Jones and a remarkable 38 points for Sean Hogerty. The 10 handicapper teeing off on 5 with just 3 points before a four birdie run from 6 saw him turn in 19 and return in 19. The morning appears to have offered a tough challenge with the top of the leader board dominated by afternoon starters, and a wonder round. The ever elegant Denver Brazier lapped up the conditions. An early birdie at 2 before a drop at 3 seemed a usual steady start for Brazier before birdies at both the par fives 4th & 7th set a new tone for scoring at Helsby. Brazier went another 2 under with birds at 12 & 13 before entering unchartered territory at 15, now 5 under the card. No signs of nerves showed as a solid par at 16 followed before an understandable block off the 17th tee presented Brazier with a challenge from the shrubs. What followed was a strong bogey in the circumstances and a chance to shoot 66 with par at the last. Few have been in this position but non have achieved it, until today with Brazier taping in for an unbelievable 66 gross, 44 point return and the Jubilee Trophy presented by Norman Littler.
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A day of two halves on the course with true rolling greens playing 11 on the stimp meter. While the morning groups experienced a chill in the air and frequent heavy showers the afternoon groups welcomed bright skies and sweltering heat. Despite finding himself in the morning groups, Glen Makin was one player who excelled in the difficult condition. Makins 16 point front nine struggles were dramatically reversed as he returned in 22 points and a third place finish on CPO over Dave Langley and Tony Fernandez. Another who enjoyed the tricky morning was Peter Glennie, a staggering 40 point total good enough for second place. Glennie turned in 20 points thanks to an excellent birdie on 7, before a level par triangle setup Glennie to push on and gain another 3 points on 14. The early groundwork meant that the only blob on Gleenies card at 17 didn’t completely derail his day, although even with a score on 17 Glennie would have struggled to stop today’s runaway winner. Arriving with a fresh set of clubs Mal Aird started out with two standard pars before acceptable bogeys on 3 and 4. A further bogey on 7 was to be cancelled out on 9 with a terrific birdie followed immediately after a pie with another at 10. A bogey at 11 threatend to derail Airds round but a solid run of 5 pars meant that he had already amassed 37 points for 15 holes. The bogeys at 16 and 17 were probably par for the day considering the conditions before Aird landed the final blow on 18 with a par, a 43 point total and todays 1st place.
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The height of Summers accelerated grass growth was evident as players found little run on the fairways and trouble for balls that missed it. A pleasant morning breeze turned into a punishable afternoon swirling wind placing a premium on the short game with missed greens aplenty.
Leading the competitors were Jim Jones and Helsby early bird Tony Archer who was eager for more after last weekends strong Captains prize finish. Unfortunately Archer couldn’t build on last week, finishing a frustrating round with 30 points. It was a different story however for Jones who only played the 2nd day of Captains. Jones accumulated a one better than par 7 points for the first 3 holes before battling at 4 to save 1 point and keep a blob off his card. Regrouping at 5 to collect another 3 points Jones could afford a slip up on 6 as his second 1 pointer of the round was recorded. Then began a 5 hole run for Jones who collected 12 points to go with an excellent back 6 15 point return and a competitive 39 points overall. Jones managed to complete his round and drive to Cornwall all before the final 3 ball had putted out.
Another to take advantage of the good morning conditions was Steven Roberts. A 19 point front nine was immediately followed by birdies at 10 and 12 preceding a strong 5 hole run leaving Roberts on the 18 tee with a haul of 37 points. Unfortunately 18 would claim its first victim with Roberts unable to gain the par that would have seen him join Jones on 39 points, instead he signed for 38. Like Roberts Alan Paynter from the early starters would find himself on the 18th tee with 37 points thanks to a steady front nine 20 points, a level point collection from the corner and an extra point collected on 14. Paynter would be another to fall victim to the front pin position on 18 taking his 1 point and signing for a solid 38 points overall and 3rd on CPO. Mid morning starter Jim McAllister decided to do things differently as he started out with 16 points on the front before returning with an excellent 21 including an elusive par at 18. McAllister would eventually finish 4th overall.
The Afternoon starters struggled with the change in wind with only Scott Butler able to better 36 points, shooting 37 despite a shot missed put on 18.
Jim Jones went on to claim this Years Whitbread Trophy by one from Steven Roberts who pipped Alan Paynter into 3rd via a CPO.
The full results can be viewed Here
All change in the Country and all change at Helsby with a new name added to the roll of honours. The Jubilee trophy was contested via stableford on a receptive course with a steady light wind and sunshine breaking through in patches, surprisingly however the course played difficult with a standard scratch of 71.
Early starters enjoyed a brisk pace of play and returned buffer zoned scores time after time until Tony Williams signed for a break away 39 points. Williams opened steadily before a mid round burst was unsettled by a triple at 15 and double at 17. There was no shame with the triple at 15 as the back left pin presented problems all day playing the 7th hardest hole and claiming a double or worse for 43% of the field. In contrast the 1st gave up 6 birdies, the most from the par 4s, with Club Captain Steve Cunniffe claiming one of them. The Captain, well practised after his 6 round challenge, would finish his opening nine one over gross and eventually sign for what looked like a winning 40 points. However the weeks narrow margin for victory theme would win the day for John Cheesbrough after his back nine 20 point return. Cheesbrough turned with a 4 over gross soon to be 3 after his birdie at 10, before settling for bogey at 13 and 14 and solidly parring both 15 and 16. Stood on 17, as every player does, Cheesbrough felt the pressure of a score and perhaps a thought of what he would mention in his winning speech. He would go on to make his only mistake here but managed the mistake well to take a 6 for 1 point before finishing in fine style with a keenly sort after par finish.
Full Results can be viewed Here